The Underworld

The club is a basement. The basement
is a skull with a wide, unhinged jaw,
a mouth with its tongue lolled out in a slobber

as me and my doppelgängers
climb inside it. No one taught us
how to be wanted.

Our bodies push against the soft
palate of the walls, bathed in
red light, reverberating in the hum

of hunger with nowhere to go. Nowhere
to hide. Spread wetness. Have I ever been

than in these first steps? No one taught me
how to be this version of a man.
Caught between the barbed wire of

teeth. The teeth are bathroom stalls.
The bathroom stalls are an exit
from paradise into something

more sinister but still an Eden
in its own rite. The throb and thrust. No one taught us
that our eyes rolled back in pleasure

are still holy objects. Worthy of salvation.
Fingers fumbling inside each other. He reaches out,
a weathered hand with its chrome-bruised nails

and its calluses, extending through
the basement’s pitch. He has found me, this hardened Virgil,
clad in experience and long-stained leather.

He pulls me further into the inferno’s
squealing dark. Into the blasphemy and revelation
only our underworld can yield.